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A design algorithm for batch stirred tank transesterification reactors

Anyanwu, C.N., Mbajiorgu, C.C., Oparaku, O.U., Odigboh, E.U., Emmanuel, U.N.
Energy conversion and management 2012 v.62 pp. 40-46
Reynolds number, algorithms, biodiesel, computer software, methanolysis, neem oil, stainless steel, temperature, transesterification, vegetable oil
A 50L per batch, stirred tank reactor, suitable for carrying out transesterification of vegetable oils was designed and constructed. The major design assumptions included stainless steel plate thickness of 2mm, reaction temperature of 60–65°C and an initial/final fluid temperature of 25/70°C. The calculated impeller Reynolds number was in the mixed regime zone of 10–10⁴; the power number was varied between 1 and 5, while a typical propeller speed of 22.5rev/s (or 1350rev/min) was adopted. The limiting design conditions were maximum reactor diameter of 1.80m, straight side height-to-diameter ratio in the range of 0.75–1.5 and minimum agitator motor power of 746W (1Hp). Based upon the design, a simple algorithm was developed and interpreted into Microsoft C Sharp computer programming language to enable scale up of the reactor. Performance testing of the realized reactor was carried out while using it to produce Neem oil biodiesel via base – catalyzed methanolysis, which yielded high quality fuel product.